I've been just as guilty at times of equating and encouraging enthusiasm and initiative as evidence of a genuine heart for Jesus. I have urged people to find a way to "change the world," to "be on fire for God," and to "give 110 percent." (Okay, I've never said that last one. It's just mathematically impossible.)
Maybe it's a noble impulse to give our lives for Christ with some kind of all-or-nothing initiative to convert continents or get an ad on the Super Bowl or "storm the gates of hell," but this verse always brings me down to the earth I think God means for us to walk on as we follow Jesus:
"Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others" (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).
Wow, that's counter-intuitive when you're on fire for God and trying to change the world. It won't look very good on the inspirational posters we're hoping to sell down at the Christian bookstore: "Live quiet!" "Leave people alone!" "Get a job!"
It's a long-term strategy: Live like Jesus for years in your neighborhood, being a respectable citizen, and people will notice over time.
It might not sound as exciting, but it's as real as it gets.Agreed. Too many of those who want to "change the world for Jesus" can't get moved out of their mothers' basements. And even more have Christian lives which don't evidence much maturity or long-term faithfulness. So live quietly, get a job, leave people alone, and live like Jesus in your neighborhood is as timely a set of instructions as ever.